Members of Congress aren’t experts at construction and the issues that affect it. That’s where professionals in the industry come into play. While our congressmen and women are there to advocate for us, how do they know the significance of what they are advocating for if we don’t tell them? It is our job to tell our stories and be heard.
That’s what ABC Young Professionals learned June 22 during the first annual YP Symposium at ABC’s Legislative Week.
During the panel discussion, young professionals from across the country learned about what the real legislative process looks like. Panelists Alex Herrgott, deputy staff director for U.S Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Danielle Burr, director of external affairs for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Joan Kirchner, chief of staff to Sen. Johnny Isakson, and Peter Freeman, deputy chief of staff to Rep. Ed Royce, shared with the group their expert opinion on the importance in getting involved. They discussed what was really going on in the House and the Senate, including the Sit-In on gun law, the laws and regulations members of the construction industry should really be paying attention to, and the best way to talk to your congressmen and get your point across.
Herrott discussed the domino effect many EPA regulations and other bills have on construction practices, even if they may not seem to have a direct impact on commercial construction at the surface level. The panelists also explained just how vital holding the majority in the Senate and the House is because whoever holds the majority has the power to mold the conversations held between some of the most important committees on Capitol Hill.
Later in the afternoon, the group went to the Capitol Hill Club to have more one-on-one time with a few Congressmen including Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS), Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA). Rep. Yoder explained the current situation with the two candidates for the presidential election and gave an overview of what he thinks will look like depending on who wins. He also emphasized the importance of maintaining the majority of the Supreme Court, because while a president may only last a handful of years, the next Supreme Court Justices appointed will more than likely hold those positions the rest of our adult lives.
All three congressmen thanked the young professionals in the room for participating in Legislative Week, but the overwhelming common thread between the conversations was that it is our job to be heard and advocate for what we believe in. For the young professionals in the room, they took advantage of that opportunity as they walked the Capitol building on Thursday to talk to their representatives about issues facing our industry.